Upgrade Mac Pro 5,1 GPU or go iMac for video processing?

maestrokev

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 23, 2007
874
8
Canada
Hi, I have a Mid 2010 5,1 with 3.33GHz processor (6 core) and the old ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB video card. 12GB RAM and 500GB SSD.

Exporting video in iMovie or any sort of transcoding in Handbrake takes a long time. I also do a moderate amount of work in Adobe Lightroom.

Is it worth upgrading the GPU to a Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 and installing Mojave?

How much of a difference will a new GPU make in keeping my 5,1 alive for video processing. I don't do this for a living. Is it time to retire the 5,1 and just get a new iMac with a more modern CPU and GPU? I used to think all video decoding was done by the CPU but now reading that many of the new GPUs are designed to take the workload off the CPU. Is this the case with the Radeon Pulse or is my 5,1 too old to take advantage of?

Thanks for your advice.
 

XNorth

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2018
167
83
United States
The newest iMacs with the 580 and Vega cards and Quick Sync will likely encode video faster than the 5,1 with the same cards.
 

mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
713
220
My Mac Pro pretty similar to yours but a gtx680 4gb.

Handbrake definitely slower now then used to be.

Like you don’t use to make a living, currently waiting on hearing from users that ordered i9 / vega iMac 2019 in terms of noise/heat before pull the trigger.

Currently use fcp x and handbrake but looking at replacing handbrake with the macxdvd suite of products to do video encoding/transcoding as supports quicksync for that.

With 8 cores and quicksync should be a good upgrade and of course get that 5k screen as well. Had been thinking z390 designare hackintosh with 9900k, Vega 64 but thinking iMac 2019 now.

My ssd starting to fail as well, 1 of 4 failed already, thankfully not the boot drive and not worth to me spending more on upgrading my Mac Pro. If had 12 core then yes but not the 6 core model like mine.
 

maestrokev

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 23, 2007
874
8
Canada
Yeah, my dilemma is whether to sink any more money into the 5,1 as it doesn't have QuickSync support. The GPU card is a couple hundred dollars and seems to be only useful to run Mojave
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
2,679
1,311
If you're just using iMovie for editing, move to an iMac.
If you're considering upgrading to FCPX or Adobe Premiere Pro, it complicates a bit more.

if your footage is H254/H265 go to the imac

if prores,red or BRAW upgrade your cMP
One clarification/typo - believe you meant H264. 100% agree with your H265 assessment, but absolutely do not agree with your H264 assessment. H264 works great with Adobe and the Mercury Playback Engine with MP5,1 and RX580.

For 95% of professional codecs MP5,1 is still a great machine (if configured and upgraded from "stock").
 

maestrokev

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 23, 2007
874
8
Canada
So you think it's worth upgrading the Radeon HD 5870 to RX 580? I'll see a significant performance increase working with H.264?

If you're just using iMovie for editing, move to an iMac.
If you're considering upgrading to FCPX or Adobe Premiere Pro, it complicates a bit more.



One clarification/typo - believe you meant H264. 100% agree with your H265 assessment, but absolutely do not agree with your H264 assessment. H264 works great with Adobe and the Mercury Playback Engine with MP5,1 and RX580.

For 95% of professional codecs MP5,1 is still a great machine (if configured and upgraded from "stock").
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
2,679
1,311
All depends on your software, codecs, and footage resolution.
If you're sticking with iMovie, you might be better off with an iMac all around.
If you're using professional software that can take advantage of a GPU (even partially) and/or has playback acceleration (hardware and/or software of some kind) you will see a benefit with the RX580 in MP5,1 with most codecs/formats (except H265/HEVC). Still MAY be better with a brand new max'ed out iMac with top of the line eGPU, but that is a significant cost vs. about $200 for just RX580 upgrade.
 

Alex Sanders74

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2013
272
60
Toronto, Canada
If you decide to go the GPU route on your 5.1 MacPro, I'd beef up your RAM as well. You stated you had 12Gb of memory and more would also help with going the video editing route.
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
288
133
Hi, I have a Mid 2010 5,1 with 3.33GHz processor (6 core) and the old ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB video card. 12GB RAM and 500GB SSD.

Exporting video in iMovie or any sort of transcoding in Handbrake takes a long time. I also do a moderate amount of work in Adobe Lightroom.

Is it worth upgrading the GPU to a Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 and installing Mojave?

How much of a difference will a new GPU make in keeping my 5,1 alive for video processing. I don't do this for a living. Is it time to retire the 5,1 and just get a new iMac with a more modern CPU and GPU? I used to think all video decoding was done by the CPU but now reading that many of the new GPUs are designed to take the workload off the CPU. Is this the case with the Radeon Pulse or is my 5,1 too old to take advantage of?

Thanks for your advice.
If I remember this correctly, iMovie does not take full advantage of the multi-core processors and hyperthreading as well as the GPU unlike Final Cut Pro X which does and I think and suspect this is not to make iMovie compete with its more professional brother. This was a few years back when I asked Apple about it. What it will take advantage of is the single core performance, so if you have CPU that allows Turbo Boost, then it can help speed up exporting in iMovie. My 2011 Mac Mini Core i5 with 8Gb of ram (the max it could take) can export a high quality 1080p to almost 1:1. For 1 hr of 1080p footage, it can export in HQ 1080p in a bit more than 1 hr with SSD and my single core performance is slightly slower than your MP 5,1 setup.

And then I use the Elgato Turbo 264HD (dedicated H.264 co-processor) in place of Handbrake to transcode to different device format up to 1080p of course and is faster than Handbrake can with my Mac Mini 2011.

If you are just doing simple video editing and do not need the fancy graphics, titles and transitions and want speed of processing is to use a software called VideoProc. This software truly uses multi-core and GPU strengths to transcode video to any format with amazing speed. I use this in conjunction with iMovie. Basically, VideoProc allows me to downsize my 4K footage to a nice quality 1080p, edit the footages with GPU and processor support. Then import all the edited and downscaled footages into iMovie to make the final movie.

I think if you are sticking with iMovie, the Mac Mini Core i5 6 core 2018 would probably be more of an upgrade benefit to you rather than upgrading your aging Mac Pro 5,1 with a newer GPU, because it has Turbo Boost up to 4.1Ghz. This is the machine I am looking at upgrading to help make iMovie exporting much faster at a reasonable cost. You can always add a eGPU later on and boost the performance of VideoProc even faster.
 
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